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Best Movies Set in Wisconsin

Every state is known for something. As you work your way through the list, don’t miss the best movies set in Wisconsin.

Madison, Wisconsin, USA State Capitol image with text: "Best Movies Set in Wisconsin"

Wisconsin is a midwestern U.S. state with coastlines on two Great Lakes (Michigan and Superior) and an interior of forests and farms. Milwaukee, the largest city, is known for the Milwaukee Public Museum, with its numerous re-created international villages, and the Harley-Davidson Museum, displaying classic motorcycles. Several beer companies are based in Milwaukee and many offer brewery tours.

What themes are in Movies Set in Wisconsin?

Movies set in Wisconsin, like films set in any location, explore a range of themes that reflect the state's culture, history, and landscapes. Some common themes found in movies set in Wisconsin include:

  1. Small-Town Life: Wisconsin's small towns often serve as settings for films, and themes related to the charm and challenges of small-town life are prevalent.
  2. Family and Community: Many Wisconsin-based movies emphasize the importance of family bonds and strong community ties.
  3. Friendship: Themes of friendship and the enduring bonds that form in both urban and rural settings are often explored.
  4. Sports: Wisconsin is known for its sports culture, particularly football, and some films center around sports-related themes, such as teamwork, competition, and the passion for local teams.
  5. Diversity and Inclusion: Wisconsin's diverse population is sometimes featured in films that explore themes of inclusivity and multiculturalism.
  6. Education: Education and the pursuit of knowledge are common themes, often seen through the lens of schools, colleges, and students' aspirations.
  7. Rural vs. Urban Life: Films set in Wisconsin may contrast the lifestyles of rural and urban residents, examining the differences and similarities between these settings.
  8. Natural Beauty: The state's picturesque landscapes, including its lakes and forests, often play a central role, emphasizing the beauty of nature and outdoor activities.
  9. Cultural and Historical Heritage: Wisconsin's rich cultural and historical heritage, including Native American history and immigrant communities, is explored in some films.
  10. Seasonal Changes: The state's four distinct seasons, with harsh winters and beautiful summers, can serve as a backdrop for themes related to change, resilience, and adaptation.
  11. Work and Industry: Movies set in Wisconsin may depict the role of industry and labor in the lives of its residents, including agriculture, manufacturing, and dairy farming.
  12. Politics and Social Issues: Wisconsin's political landscape and social issues, such as healthcare, education, and environmental concerns, are sometimes addressed in films.
  13. Love and Relationships: Like films set in any location, love, romance, and relationships are common themes.
  14. Historical Events: Wisconsin has a history of significant events, and some films delve into these historical moments.
  15. Humor and Quirkiness: Wisconsin is known for its unique and often humorous quirks, and some films play on the state's distinctive culture and character.
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Movies set in Wisconsin provide a glimpse into the state's identity and the lives of its residents, offering a diverse array of themes that capture the essence of this Midwest state.

How to Create a State Unit Study for Wisconsin

Creating a State Unit Study for Wisconsin can be an engaging and educational project for students of various ages. This unit study allows students to learn about the geography, history, culture, and other aspects of the state. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to create a comprehensive unit study for Wisconsin:

1. Define Your Goals and Objectives:

  • Determine the age or grade level of the students.
  • Decide on the specific goals and objectives you want to achieve with the unit study. Do you want to focus on history, geography, culture, or a combination of these?

2. Gather Resources:

  • Collect books, articles, websites, and other materials related to Wisconsin. Local libraries, state websites, and educational resources are good places to start.

3. Choose Topics:

  • Select key topics to cover in your unit study. Common topics might include:
      • Geography: Study the state's physical features, regions, and climate.
      • History: Explore Wisconsin's history, including Native American heritage, colonial history, statehood, and significant historical events.
      • Government: Learn about the state's government structure, including its constitution, branches, and elected officials.
      • Culture: Explore Wisconsin's cultural heritage, including traditions, art, music, and folklore.
      • Economy: Investigate the state's economy, including industries like agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism.
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4. Create Lesson Plans:

  • Develop a series of lesson plans that cover each chosen topic. Each lesson should include objectives, activities, and assessments.
  • Make the lessons engaging and interactive. For example, students could create timelines, conduct research, or participate in cultural activities.

5. Hands-On Activities:

  • Include hands-on activities to make learning more enjoyable. For instance, students could create a state map, cook a traditional Wisconsin dish, or participate in a local art project.

6. Field Trips:

  • Plan field trips to local museums, historical sites, or cultural events related to Wisconsin. This provides students with a practical learning experience.

7. Guest Speakers:

  • Invite guest speakers, such as local historians, artists, or community leaders, to share their knowledge and experiences with the students.

8. Culminating Project:

  • Consider a culminating project that allows students to showcase what they've learned. For example, students could create a presentation, write a research paper, or assemble a class exhibit.

9. Assessment:

  • Develop assessments to measure students' understanding of the material. This could include quizzes, essays, or presentations.

10. Reflection:

  • Encourage students to reflect on what they've learned throughout the unit study. Ask them to discuss how their perception of Wisconsin has changed and what they found most interesting.

11. Make It Fun:

  • Integrate games, puzzles, and fun activities to keep students engaged and excited about learning.

12. Share and Celebrate:

  • Showcase students' work and celebrate the completion of the unit study. You can host a presentation day, a cultural fair, or an exhibition.

Remember to adapt the unit study to the age and abilities of your students. Tailor the content to make it appropriate and engaging for the specific grade level.

State unit studies are a great way to instill a sense of pride and appreciation for one's home state while expanding students' knowledge and understanding of their local environment.

Welcome to Wisconsin image

Best Movies Set in Wisconsin

Lars and the Real Girl
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider (Actors)

Lars and the Real Girl

Year: 2007

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Lars, a sweet but quirky-to-delusional guy, has found the girl of his dreams, a life-sized doll named Bianca. When he develops feelings for Margo, an attractive co-worker, Lars finds himself lost in a hilariously unique love triangle.

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne (Actors)


Year: 2011

From the producer of Knocked Up, Bridesmaids takes Maid of Honor, Annie (Kristen Wiig), and four wild bridesmaids on a hilarious ride to their friend's wedding.
Dawn of the Dead
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Mekhi Phifer (Actors)

Dawn of the Dead 

Year: 2004

A gripping, gory remake of the cult horror classic: the undead walk the earth as flesh-eating zombies, trapping a disparate group of desperate people in a suburban shopping mall.
Wayne's World
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Rob Lowe (Actors)

Wayne's World 

Year: 1992

When a sleazy TV exec offers Wayne and Garth a contract to tape their late-night cable-access show on his network, they discover the road to the big time is full of gnarly twists and turns.

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Tommy Boy

Year: 1995

Chris Farley is an overweight slacker who goes on the road with snide underling David Spade to save his late father's auto-parts business.

Now that you've completed the list of best movies set in this state, why not check out some others? Here are the Best Movies Set in All 50 States.


Click here to download this printable. It has a list of books in all 50 states, including the Best Movies Set in Wisconsin.

Further Reading About the State:

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Wisconsin State Capitol with text: "Best Movies Set in Wisconsin"

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